07 October 2008

Fair Vote Canada: Open letter to strategic voters

Posted in full, with permission from Fair Vote Canada..

Open letter from Fair Vote Canada to strategic voters and vote-swappers

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” - Albert Einstein

Another federal election and another disaster for democracy.

On October 14, millions of Canadians – possibly eight million – will become orphan voters, casting ballots that send no one to Ottawa. As usual, the election results will be wildly distorted.

Some parties will get a portion of seats far exceeding their portion of the popular vote, while others will get too little or none at all.

We may even see a party opposed by six voters in every ten take majority control in the House of Commons.

Why we call this exercise “democracy” is a continuing mystery.

During every election in recent memory the frustration created by an undemocratic electoral system leads some to conclude that voters should try to “game” the system. Instead of marking the ballot for a party you support, they say, be “smart” and vote for a party you do not support in order block another party that you despise.

A recent poll by the Toronto Star indicated that about half of those supporting the Liberals, NDP and Green Party would consider casting a negative or “strategic” vote, abandoning the party they actually prefer, to vote for another party in the hope of stopping a candidate from the front-running Conservatives.

In addition to 40% of the eligible voters who choose not to vote we could now have another large group of people who have given up on sincere voting and genuine democratic representation.

This is no way to nourish pride of citizenship or public respect for the laws that emanate from an unrepresentative Parliament.

Citizens in most major democracies take for granted their right to cast a vote that elects the representation they want. In the upcoming election, the majority of Canadian voters will all but certainly be denied that right.

Fair Vote Canada cannot advise voters whether to cast negative votes or to participate in vote-swapping schemes on October 14. It’s rarely a clear or easy choice.

What we can advise is that all Canadians should be coming together to demand reform of our country’s undemocratic election process.

If you have not already done so, join and support Fair Vote Canada. Sign the Fair Vote Canada petition calling for a national referendum on electoral reform. Urge other organizations to make active citizenship, equal votes and proportional representation for all Canadians a part of their basic mission.

Together we can win.

British Columbians showed the way in 2005 when 58% voted by referendum for proportional representation, only to be frustrated – in the short-term – by an undemocratic government-imposed threshold of 60%. On May 12, 2009, British Columbians will vote again in an electoral reform referendum. With our encouragement and help, they can lead Canada on the path of democratic renewal.

The electoral system has orphaned many of us. We must refuse to be silenced. Democracy has been long delayed, but if democrats are steadfast, democracy will not be forever denied.

Fair Vote Canada
Orphan Voters

Please help spread the word about the importance of reforming our electoral system - distribute this letter widely. - Ocean.

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